But, as it turned out, today was most definitely not one of THOSE days. Today was one of these days. A day filled with highs and lows. The highs were incredibly high and the lows unbearably low.
I did get to take Anna to toddler tumbling where she proceeded to act like the two year old she now is and do the exact opposite of everything she was supposed to do. If the teacher said jump, she sat there. When the teacher said to sit, she jumped. And when I tried to corral her back in to the group she took off as fast as she could leaving her forty-something mother to chase her while the twenty-somethings watched. Needless to say, we left early.
We returned home to find out that our dear, little friend Michael had made the journey from this earth to his Heavenly home. It was not unexpected, but still shocking. He has been fighting brain cancer for the last seven months and there were many highs and lows for him and his family. At one point it seemed as if the tumor was responding to the treatment in a miraculous way. What a high that was! And then this past Thursday they were told that the cancer had progressed to a point where nothing else could be done. He was taken home to just be with his family for the last days or weeks. So, it wasn't surprising news this morning. But so very heartbreaking.
Dean and I headed to their house to be with them and all I could think was "Please, God, help me to know what to say. Please use my pain to bring them comfort. Please help me not to lose it." We sat with them and listened to the details of his last moments. We listened to them pour out their hearts and their pain. We felt so helpless. But we also heard the hope of their hearts. The hope that their baby is now free of his pain. He is resting with our Saviour. They WILL be with him again. I saw in their eyes the realization that even if we question why this happened, our only hope and comfort comes from holding on to our faith. We want to be with our babies again. And we are going to get there! I saw the look of longing in their eyes. That look that only a grieving parent has. That look that knows that this is not our home. None of it matters. And I totally understood.
We got home and tried to settle in and process all of the events from the morning when a neighbor showed up at the door. He wanted to know if Dean could come over and perform a wedding in his living room. He and his girlfriend had a wedding license and family was there visiting so they decided to just get married. Of course, Dean changed into something a little nicer and went over and married them. It was very cool. They were very happy. It was definitely a high point of the day.
In the mean time, Allie got a call from a friend from school asking her to hang out. This was also a high point as I had been praying about this just this week. Allie has made friends at school but not really a good friend to just hang out with. She never really had that in Jacksonville either so I have been really wanting her to find a special friend. She went over and had a good time and now they are doing it again tomorrow. God answered my prayers which is always a high point of any day.
Dean came home from the "wedding" to receive a call from a local funeral home asking him if he would do a funeral for a couple whose baby had been born stillborn. And then he got a call that a man from our church had had an accident with a saw and lost a finger and another was in the hospital with other medical problems. Off to the hospital he went.
So, as you can see, it was a day of highs and lows. But sometimes in this mixed up world we live in things are not always the way they appear. For the lowest part of the day was most definitely the loss of little Michael, but it was also the the highest point of the day. In his death hope was found. A new and glorious life became his today. We saw the way that one little life can touch so many.
For me, days like these can be draining and exhausting. But they can also be so fulfilling. I have often struggled with parts of my life as a pastor's wife. I am a private introvert which doesn't always suit my role so well. I get frustrated with some of the pettiness I see in people. But, today, being a part of so many lives, people experiencing the highs and the lows, made me grateful for the wonderful gift I have been given. To come along side people in their joys and in their sorrows makes all of the other stuff worth it. Sitting with Michael's parents today, though it was hard, made me feel incredibly honored, blessed, and humbled. Being with them and others at their low times is truly the highest privilege I have been given.
You are loved, Michael, and you will never be forgotten!